Each yea r, as the NFL Draft approaches, the folks at Football Outsiders put together several projections that are interesting to consider as part of the broader draft analysis. Their two most notable projections are the Playmaker Score and SackSEET. We'll check out SackSEER in the next couple days, but today I thought we would take a look at FO's Playmaker Scores for 2015.
No single projection guarantees success, but as one piece of the puzzle these things. The 49ers signed Torrey Smith, and while they might be able to get by with their current receiver corps in 2015, there are enough long term questions that it makes sense to add another receiver in the draft.
FO puts together a rundown of the elements they consider for wide receivers, which include peak seasons for receiving yards per team attempt and receiving touchdowns per team attempt. That link provides a list of the various elements, and is worth a read. From that list they develop a Playmaker Projection and Playmaker Score. The former projects yards for the player in his rookie season, while the latter measures how highly a player ranks historically based on the various factors. As FO describes it, a player with a 75 percent Playmaker Score is considered more highly than 75 percent of wide receiver prospects drafted since 1996.
Based on the various elements, Amari Cooper ranks highest in both projection (643 yards) and score (95.4%). Jaelen Strong ranks second and Sammie Coates ranks third. Where it gets particularly interesting is the fact that Kevin White ranks fairly low. While he is viewed by many as the top wide receiver prospect in the draft, he ranks incredibly low in projection (406 yards) and score (39.1%). DeVante Parker and Dorial Green-Beckham also rank relatively low compared to where media have projected them.
The biggest sleepers based on Playmaker Score are Titus Davis (Central Michigan), Stefon Diggs (Maryland) and DeAndre Smelter (Georgia Tech). You can view FO's full list HERE.
For comparison, in 2014, Playmaker Score was really high on Brandin Cooks and Odell Beckham Jr. FO had both of them ahead of Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans. They were not particularly high on Kelvin Benjamin, and he ended up No. 3 in receiving yards among rookie receivers.